The Tech Guy 193
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Saturday, November 5, 2005
- Today’s news items
- Frank in Bakersfield - scanning documents to PDF is slow
- Maryannne in Newport Beach - I went online for an hour, am I ok?
- Dave in Long Beach - fitting a commercial DVD on one disc
- Jon in Canton - A Fourth Option (addition to option #1)
- Lucas in Los Angeles - creating my own space online
- Adam in New York - password protecting web pages
- Joe in Torrance - converting ogg vorbis files to AAC on a Mac
- Chat Logs and Show Audio
But Yahoo isn’t sitting still. The new Yahoo! Maps beta is pretty darn good!
djRob says: It’s the end of the world - serious multibillion dollar company is making computer viruses.
Cristina in Lisbon, Portugal: On the very day I listened to Security Now podcast on the Sony rootkit, I watched the special edition of Lawrence of Arabia on my laptop.
As soon as I inserted Disc 1, I was asked to accept the installation of “something” that would give me access to some enhanced features on the DVD. I immediately said no (thank you Leo and Steve) and proceded to watch the film.
This version of the film is too long to fit in one disk. When the first disk ended, I found out it was a “Sony pictures film”. Scary!!!
Apple announces a fatal flaw in Quicktime. Only one critical fix this Patch Tuesday for Microsoft.
US Federal officials have busted a man for installing adware on 400,000 Windows computers, netting $60,000 in affiliate fees.
Congress is holding hearings on Broadcast flag and the “analog hole.” Some want to force analog recording devices to copy digitally and add protection. Copy protection for digital radio is on the table, too.
The Supreme Court has declined to hear Microsoft’s appeal in the Eolas patent suit. I’ll explain why that’s bad news for consumers.
Sprint launches a music service for its EDGE high-speed cellular network but it’s $2.50/song!
Wal-mart will sell the Razr for under $90 this Christmas.
You need a fax modem for the software to work. I recommend an online fax service instead called efax. You “send” faxes via email or through their web site. Incoming faxes appear in your email. For fewer than 20 pages per month their parent company (j2) offers a free incoming fax service.
Matt Smith says: Rosemary, take a look at a company called Aircom. I’ve been using their services for 7 years, and they’re great. They offer the same services that eFax does, but Aircom is much more reliable and is priced better. Also, their customer service is incredible. Try getting a question answered or a problem fixed by the guys at eFax. It’s about as easy as getting an answer from the IRS.
There’s also a very complete list of fax services at http://www.savetz.com/fax.
It’s a great mystery - some of her files are still there but most, including all her MP3 files have disappeared.
Kelly Thompson says: we ran across something similar where a malware program (we assume) set the “hidden” attribute on several folders. Has she checked that, enabling “show hidden/system files”? That or a failing hard drive, although I don’t think I’ve ever seen one that specific, it’s usually fairly random.
Tim from Australia says: I had a similar thing happen to me, where folders and files just disappeared at random from My Documents, I tend to think it was a virus of similar malicious software. The files and folders didn’t disappear all at once, but in stages. I had already backed up everything, so I just reinstalled WinXP and everything seems fine.
Rusty says: If you had over 100 mp3′s look at your hard drive space. That will tell you if you really lost all of those mp3′s. If you have a lot of new space well then its been erased.
bob cooper says that a friend was archiving data in a computer and every thing in the folder you were talking about disappeared also. the backup program MOVED the data to the cd instead of COPYING it to the disk. the loss of data showed up as a loss of percentage of the hard drive in use with a corresponding growth of data on the. after a certain amount of shouting and screaming he simply copied the data back and all was well.
Daniel from Orlando says that it probably was a hacker, possibly someone who lost their home recently. From what I remember, there was a folder called forclosure in the MY DOCUMENTS folder. Think about it, all of the personal data (mp3s and more) was taken away. Call it a hunch, but perhaps Kathy’s job requires her to forclose on people’s homes, and one person tried to get revenge by taking away Kathy’s belongings?
Andrew from Riverside, CA says Kathy you mentioned that you were deleting files and those went to your recycle bin. What I was thinking is that you accidentally told it to delete some of those files in My Documents since they where to big for the recycle bin it asked you would you just like to delete these files and you said yes
Chad from Grand Rapids says If you are using an unencrypted wireless router and are sharing the folder anyone close to your house can delete the files inside the folder. If Daniel is right and you use WEP then they could crack that.
She wants something to take notes on her PC, encrytable, calendars. Try Evernote - it’s free and one of the best Windows apps I’ve ever tried. But notepad software is very personal. If you’ve got another recommendation, add it here!
On a laptop definitely get the M - it’s more efficient at slower clock speeds and offers much better battery life.
Cavan from NJ says The AMD Turion Processor is a good cheap alternative that is just as fast as a Pentium M. The battery life is not as good, however, so it depends on how often you use the laptop plugged in. If you’ll be using it mainly off AC power, the Turion is much less expensive.
He publishes a podcast of MacTips at www.MacTipsDaily.com. He’s wondering what bit rate I recommend for the MP3s. I highly recommend recording and editing uncompressed audio. When you’re ready to send your podcast out compress to 64kbps MP3 for mono. Voice can go as low as 32kpbs. I do the KFI podcast at 56kbps because it’s such a big file.
Vincent in The Bronx - Re Audio Inputs on a Mac:
When I got my iBook, I bought the iMic from Griffin to get audio into it for Garage Band. You may wanna give it a shot if you want to get audio into your Mac. I still use it to this day even though I’ve gotten rid of my Mac. The quality of the audio from it is wonderful and it’s a USB interface.
I don’t particularly like the DVD camcorders. DVD camcorders are for people who don’t have computers. If you ever think you’ll want to edit the video it’s better to record to tape - the quality is better and it’s easier to get it into the computer. To get the content off her DVDs she can use DVD Shrink to rip it and put it into a form her video editing program can use. For that I recommend Adobe’s $79 Premiere Elements.
We’ve covered the subject in great detail in our Security Now! podcast.
To detect the Sony BMG DRM software on your machine you can use one of two tools:
Look for files with names beginning with
$sys$ - those are created by the Sony BMG rootkit (or a hacker taking advantage of it).
Sheldon Wilson writes: I’ve created a .txt file on my desktop called
$sys$canary If it were to disappear, I would know immediately that I have the Sony rootkit.
Whack_Job requests: Leo… What about SpySweeper 4.5 for removing RootKits???? The new version has the feature to detect, and remove RootKits. Please ask Steve to review!
RHNet says: I doubt that spysweeper will remove it because as I have heard, the rootkit is deep in your system. Also the cd drive may not work.
Whack_Job Replies:I would agree RHNet. But Why have Leo and Steve not mention Spysweeper??
Jeff in Santa Ana adds - Because (as Leo mentioned) an *improper* attempt to remove it WILL CRIPPLE YOUR CD DRIVE.
Whack_Job Replies: I don’t think SpySweeper would want that responsibility.
Let’s let Leo or Steve answer my question please. Leo and Steve have talked about every other program that detect’s RootKit’s BUT SpySweeper!! I just would like them to review it.
He’s using Adobe Acrobat. I recommend using the software that came with the scanner instead.
Kenny in Hagerstown, Maryland
First thing is the scanning software. I have an HP 2200 scanner with the Hp PrecisionScan software and by default it did an OCR after each page scan. You can edit the scan properties to turn that process off and the page to page scanning becomes faster. Second, Microsoft Office comes with Document Image Scanning that will allow you to save multiple page tif images. I use this solution all the time and it’s great.
DaFreak in Denver, Colorado
I would suggest using Open Office for scanning multi-page PDF documents. It can be downloaded for free and is available for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. All you have to do is open a document select Insert Picture then scanner and scan the document into the file. Then select the PDF button on the toolbar and it will export the whole thing as a PDF file.
JeepinGeo in Fullerton, CA
Another option, though it is not cheap (about $400 ), is to get an AXIS Document Server. It is a little box that your scanner plugs into instead of your computer. You put the documents into the scanner, select where you want them to go, then the scanner scans them and sends it off to you as a PDF attachment to an email. I have this at work and it works great and is fast. It does require a network connection and needs to be setup to log into an Exchange or POP mail server to send the documents.
BoyZ from SGV says
Install the PDFCreator (it’s free pdf printer), then scan the entire document in TIFF format by using microsoft document imaging (only in office xp or 2003) or perhaps any generic scanning application that came w/windows xp. (Hence, it must be in TIFF b/c this format can hold many pages in a single file). Once done, open/double click on the TIFF file and then select manual print from the tool bar and select PDFCreater instead of your regular/traditional printer to print the entire file w/the installed PDFCreator.
Lindy from Florida says
You can purchase Paperport software from nuance. You can scan all your documents into Paperport.and save them as PDF Files. You can also get CutePDF Printer.which will allow you you save docs as pdf’s after they have been scanned. Paperport is not free but CutePDF Printer is. I use both and have good results. Hope this helps.
Bon from Makati, Philippines says
If print quality is not as important as speed, a quick and dirty way for me to archive files into PDF is to fax the printed document to my PC (via its fax modem). I then open the resulting multipage TIFF file in my PC and then print to CutePDF Writer - presto, you have a PDF containing all of the pages of your document. While only at 200 dpi, the advantage of a fax machine is its built-in single sheet feeder, which most inexpensive scanners don’t possess.
She has an eight year old computer and AOL 5. Went online for the first time for a couple of hours. She saw a bunch of pop up ads and is now worried that she’s infected with spyware and viruses. It’s unlikley. She only visited a couple of mainstream web sites. Nor did she download any software. It’s possible she got Sasser or another worm, but if she’s not reporting any symptoms she may have dodged that bullet.
Most commercial DVDs are dual-layer - they hold 9.4GB of data. To make a copy of these DVDs you have three choices:
- Use DVD Shrink to remove extras
- Buy a dual layer DVD burner
- Burn it onto two discs
A fourth option: Using DVD Shrink you can just make the entire DVD smaller. You’ll lose some unnoticeable quality but you’ll be able to keep the extras, should you ever want to view them
I don’t recommend MySpace. You can set up your own web site for around $8/month with Powweb - you’ll learn some useful skills to boot. Otherwise try Live Journal, Blogger, or Typepad for a free blog you can all post to.
He has a site for his photo business, www.spinnersphotos.com, but he wants to create some private pages for the drama club at school. There are numerous ways to do this, but the safest is to use Apache’s .htaccess methods (if your web host allows it).
Here’s an article I wrote some years ago on the topic.
If you don’t have an index.html file in a directory, the web server will just display its contents. This is called an “open directory” and not necessarily a problem as long as you know it exists. To prevent it, create a blank index.html file in the directory.
Dan - somewhere east
I’ve always simply had the index.hml file as my home page. If you go to the folder that file just gets called up. Can anyone tell me why this isn’t a good way to handle a web site? Why would you not? Not being sarcastic, I would really like to know.
Troels in Silkeborg, Denmark
Sound Grinder 2.2.1 will do it, it is a “batch audio converter”.